Carolina Hurricanes will host their first ever outdoor game on Saturday against the Washington Capitals, and the anticipation is building in Raleigh as over 50,000 fans prepare for an NHL rarity.
The home of North Carolina State football, just a short hop across from the Hurricanes’ usual homestead at the PNC Arena, has been transformed for the latest instalment of the NHL Stadium Series.
Well over 30,000 extra fans will be able to savour this weekend’s clash, with the Hurricanes featuring in their first ever outdoor game and the league’s 37th overall since 2003.
A college-game day atmosphere is expected with fans throwing tailgate parties in the parking lot, as well as a marching band in the stadium ahead of the evening face-off under the spotlights.
Check out this cool time-lapse video of Carter-Finley Stadium getting fitted for an ice hockey rink ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes’ first-ever outdoor NHL Stadium Series hockey game this Saturday against the Washington Capitals. 🏒✨: https://t.co/56yKwEZ77Y pic.twitter.com/wWXl7cJmvq
— CLTure® ( culture ) (@CLTure) February 14, 2023
On the franchise’s 25th anniversary, the chance to host the latest edition of the Stadium Series has been a long-awaited one, and is expected to be a celebration of the team’s rebirth and their journey back into Stanley Cup contention following the return of 2006 recipient Rod Brind’Amour, who has led a resurgence as head coach.
Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon said: “It’s fun to do things that are a little different, a new life experience.
“So, I think that’s the most interesting thing is doing something different, and it fits well for our market between the tailgating and the college football to be able to do it right there in your parking lot. So, it’s just something interesting and different.”
Dundon’s takeover in 2018 marked the beginning of an overhaul for the franchise in general, with average attendances at an all-time low of just over 11,000 in 2016, to now tripling that figure with fans snapping up tickets for a near-sell out crowd every game on average.
Carolina is perhaps one of the warmer outdoor climates the league has had to deal with, and reflective silver tarps have covered the ice this week to battle 72 degree Fahrenheit temperatures in Raleigh. However, thin mists of water have been sprayed over and over to create a compact, dense sheet of ice ready for the players to tear up on Saturday night.
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